NTSA puts brakes on Modern Coast buses after fatal Nithi crash

Modern Coast Express Limited yard in Mombasa

Modern Coast Express Limited yard in Mombasa. NTSA has suspended the operations of the company following the fatal crash involving one of its buses at the Nithi bridge black spot on July 24, 2022.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has suspended the operations Modern Coast Express Limited, the company that owns the bus that plunged into River Nithi at the Nithi bridge black spot on Sunday, killing 35 people and injuring others.

In a statement by NTSA Director-General George Njao, the authority said the operations of the bus company had been halted across seven routes where it operates.

He added that a thorough multi-agency investigation into the Nithi bridge crash had been started.

NTSA is also evaluating the bus company’s safety operation standards, Mr Njao added.

The bus company was founded in 2007, with operations in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Fell off Nithi bridge

The Sunday crash happened at 6.40pm after the bus, which was travelling from Maua, fell off the Nithi bridge into the river, about 40 metres below.

The Modern Coast bus, which was headed to Mombasa, is said to have left Meru town around 5pm Sunday. On reaching Nithi bridge, a notorious blackspot, witnesses say the driver appeared to lose control as the bus hurtled down the steep slope at top speed before plunging into the river.

After the fatal crash, it emerged that the Modern Coast bus — KCF 614U — is not new to controversy.

Complaints

The same bus had on numerous times has been driven carelessly on various occasions, prompting passengers to press authorities to remove it from the road.

The complaints date as far back as 2016, with various Twitter posts calling for action to be taken against its driver.

The Modern Coast bus company was owned by the late Shahid Pervez Butt, who was gunned down by unknown people on July 11, 2014 in Changamwe, Mombasa as he drove from the Moi International Airport.

Following his death, a succession row over the control of his Sh5 billion estate ensued and it was resolved after eight years in court.

When the case came up in court, it was revealed that the late Mr Butt owned over 200 motor vehicles, mostly luxury buses under his company, and had, before his death, concluded the acquisition of another 29 motor vehicles.

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